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CLS 96 W — Exploring Wine’s Connection to Place and Culture: Stories in a Bottle

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Oct 11—Nov 19
Refund Deadline: Oct 14
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $370
Instructor(s): Karen MacNeil
Limit: 200
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Oct 11—Nov 19
6 weeks
Refund Date
Oct 14
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Karen MacNeil
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
More than any other beverage in civilization, wine moves us intellectually, sensorially, and emotionally—it compels us to want to know more about it. In this course, through interactive tastings and discussion, we’ll examine the ways in which wine is powerfully connected to culture, history, language, and nature. We’ll consider the question of what makes great wine great. We will see and taste how a wine expresses the culture and time in which it was made. When we turn to the senses, we will delve into wine’s capacity to move us emotionally. We will examine the concept of terroir and understand why some places (France) see it as the foundation of viticulture while others (Australia) do not. By comparing the works of wine writers, we’ll explore whether or not wine can be judged objectively, consider our own subjective assessments, and grasp why language so often fails us when we try to describe wine. By the end of this course, we will have tasted wines from around the word and come to see wine in a new holistic way. We’ll understand why a binary “I like it/I don’t like it” approach misses the richness wine has to offer. And by expanding our knowledge of wine through the lenses of many different disciplines, we’ll increase the pleasure we get from every wine we drink.

This course is intended for wine drinkers of all knowledge levels—from novices to experienced drinkers. For tastings during each class, students will be asked to purchase two wines (per week) from a list of suggested types of wine. A wine package will be available to purchase, or students may choose to select their own each week based on the theme. Purchase details will be available upon registration.

Wine Consultant and Writer; Creator and Chairman Emeritus, Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies, Culinary Institute of America

Karen MacNeil is the author of The Wine Bible and editor of the newsletter WineSpeed. Her eponymous company provides live virtual tastings and other events for audiences across the globe. She was host of the Emmy-winning PBS series Wine, Food & Friends. The former wine correspondent for Today on NBC, MacNeil has received a James Beard award for Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional of the Year, a Louis Roederer Consumer Title Writer of the Year award, and an International Wine & Spirits Communicator of the Year award.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Karen MacNeil, The Wine Bible, 2nd edition (ISBN 978-0-7611-8083-8)
(Required) Ian Tattersall and Rob Desalle, A Natural History of Wine (ISBN 978-0-300-21102-3)
(Recommended) Jamie Goode, I Taste Red (ISBN 978-0-520-29224-6)
(Recommended) Edward Slingerland, Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization (ISBN 978-0-316-45338-7)